Gordon County Agriculture Update
article on the Calhoun Heifer Evaluation and Reproductive Development program. This collaborative effort that runs from December to May annually concluded last week with the bred heifer sale. The sale averaged $ 1747 with 108 heifers going through the sale ring in a live auction. I think that is a solid sale average with the current market. The sale is a marketing tool for consigners, but do not forget the educational data collected. Producers in an evaluation process obtain data on their replacement heifers that would be hard for them to do at home. The replacement heifers for a cattle producer are that next generation of cows for the herd so you need to make sure you are keeping the right kind of heifers.
The weather can be causing havoc in the vegetable garden. The current rainfall takes me back to the story of Goldilocks and the three bears where the porridge was either too hot, too cold and finally was just right. If you remember, in 2016 we were entering into a historic drought and 2017 was much better on moisture. Many folks would tell you in 2018, we are too wet. I am never going to complain on getting rainfall because I know at some point this summer, we will get dry and be wishing for rain. The rainfall may be causing you some issues in the vegetable garden that you will simply have to deal with for a while. The current wet soils may limit vegetables in nutrient uptake. The soils may be so wet that your roots just can’t take up fertilizer or nutrients in your soils that they normally would.
We are seeing wet conditions in even the best draining soils right now, but a garden spot with drainage issues in the first place may be very water logged. In addition, you may see more issues with foliage diseases due to the wet conditions. Remember that we have a lot of heat and humidity in our part of the world. Disease pathogens are already around and when foliage stays wet for extended periods of time that moisture could be the last key ingredient to get some diseases brewing. Normally, I am trying to tell folks to use soaker hoses or some sort of drip irrigation to keep foliage dry. You can’t do anything about the rainfall.
This will be my first reminder for my hay producers on the “Gone HAYwire Challenge.” I am surprised on how few hay samples that are sent to the lab for analysis. I think as livestock producers we get in the scenario that if we have hay bales in the barn, it is good and there is nothing to worry about as far as winter feeding. I fully realize that many folks still have unfed hay in the barn from last winter. It was a far cry from the drought of 2016 where hay was bought from all over to feed livestock even in the summer of that drought year. The challenge is pretty simple: do hay sampling to see the forage quality of the hay you are producing. Knowing things such as Total Digestible Nutrients, crude protein or even nitrate levels of your hay can help you make management decisions for the upcoming winter hay feeding season. We even have a hay probe that can be checked out and used by clients to make sampling easier.
I would like to give a plug for soil testing. We do send a good number of soil samples to the lab. The goal of a soil sample is to take out the guesswork in your fertilizing and liming efforts for your soil. We can even code the sample based on your activity from growing roses, to grazing livestock and even growing fruit trees. We even have soil probes that can be checked out. You do need to review how to properly take the samples and know the correct sampling depth that is determined by your activity on that ground. The biggest mistake I see is that many times people do not sample early enough. We are more acidic in our area so lime can be needed. We like for lime to be mixed with that ground several months prior to many activities to get that pH higher. Soil sampling is $ 9 per sample so a great deal.
Finally, insect pressure will probably build up as we go deeper into the summer. I will try to spend future articles on some of our outdoor pests. I will add to go back and read my article on protecting yourself from ticks. On our Lunch and Learn visit last week to the Arrowhead Wildlife Management Area, the county agent even got two ticks off of himself while out on the nature hike.
For more information, contact UGA Extension- Gordon County at 706- 629- 8685 or email gbowman@ uga. edu.